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The Rapha Men's Brevet Bib Shorts are very comfortable thanks to a really supportive pad and a great cut. The cargo pocket is useful (and fairly stealthy when not in use) and it's good to see a decent spread of reflective details, but then you could reasonably demand all this anyway, given their very high price.
While we're all inevitably different, for me at least these shorts – specifically, the pad – performed perfectly. The dual-density foam is notably thick but doesn't feel that way once you've put them on, and has a supportive spring to it that's neither too firm for comfort nor so soft it just flattens.
The pad's overall shape is just right too, and that (plus its step down in thickness around the edges) meant I never had any irritation or chafing, no matter how long the ride. It's firmly flatlock stitched into a well-shaped pair of shorts, which in turn are supported by wide, breathable and comfortable bib straps.
I tested a size large – I generally don't find any of the measurements on bib shorts size charts useful, but generally suit a large – and they fitted well. They're on the smaller/tighter side for a large, but not excessively so.
The 'shorts' half give a slightly compressive fit (the fabric is reasonably thick with a firm stretch) which I found comfortable and secure, while the well-judged legs sit securely at the ends of my thigh muscles. There's a substantial elastic cuff that peeks out from below the hems and is lined with silicone for grip. It works well.
Meanwhile, the upper strap section is a light mesh-type fabric bordered by elastic, which breathes well and sits comfortably too. I found the medium-strength elastication bordering on too much when standing, but absolutely fine once riding.
I wouldn't want them any tighter, but to be fair I have a relatively long torso/short legs for my height, which frequently makes strap length an issue for me.
According to all three of Rapha's size chart metrics (chest, waist and hips) I should fit a medium, but no thanks. In reality I could probably get away with sizing up a second time to XL (there are six choices, from XS to XXL). Amazingly, Rapha says the model in the picture – Ruben – is 6ft (only an inch shorter than me) and wearing a size small, and certainly the legs sit a good 6cm or so higher on him. I can only assume Ruben is also now doomed to never have children. A size small would crush me like a black hole – consider sizing up, is my point here.
While the fabric is, as I previously mentioned, relatively thick, I found it cool and comfortable in what heat the UK can conjure up. It's protective against sun to UPF 50, too.
The pocket on the right thigh doubles the thickness there and may get sweaty in proper heat, but I had no issues. Having the same tough stretch as the rest of the shorts means it's very secure, and a good size for plunging a whole hand into.
The grey details (and logo) are reflective to help with visibility – a good idea for shorts aimed at long days – but still look pretty slick, in my opinion.
Their rrp of £215 is a lot for summer bib shorts, and right up there at the top of the premium end. Assos is not known for cheap stuff, for instance, but its similarly distance-orientated Mille GT Bib Shorts C2 are excellent according to Ben, who tested them recently, yet significantly less at £125.
That said, the Mille GTs don't have pockets, whereas the Mille GTC Kiespanzer C2s, which Jamie has been testing for our sister site off.road.cc, do – and they're £210.
If you don't care for pockets, something like the Altura Endurance Men's Cycling Bib Shorts will serve you very well for £90 – in his test, Stu reckoned they were really comfortable on longer rides – and while the same firm's All Roads Cargo Bib Shorts had a few more niggles (mostly with the legs, according to George's review), they do have pockets and are cheaper still at £80.
Overall, I found these very comfortable, and the quality is excellent. The pocket is useful and the reflectives are welcome indeed given the long rides these are aimed at. You can get similar performance for considerably less, which counts against these in the real world, but if you're happy spending the money, you'll be very happy with what you get.
Very comfortable and usable shorts, but watch the small sizing – and sit down for the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Brevet Bib Shorts
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Rapha says these are a "Supportive Bib Short With Pockets".
It's wrong. It has a single pocket.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rapha lists these 'key features':
For consistent comfort, in-built storage and added visibility on round-the-clock endurance rides
Technical sweat-wicking main fabric dries rapidly to help regulate body temperature in varied weather conditions
Also provides UPF50+ sun protection
Dual-density chamois pad with quick-drying foam layers for optimal support and an antibacterial topsheet for freshness
Lightweight bonded uppers with central cut out for added breathability
Subtle slip pocket on the right leg provides added storage for ride provisions
Hi-vis and reflective stripes plus reflective logo to the rear for added visibility
And these 'details and materials':
Designed for use in mild to hot conditions
Contrast leg gripper with 5mm exposed tipping
Mesh uppers with binding for low-profile fit
UPF50+ fabric on shorts for added sun protection
58% Recycled Nylon
A comfortable, secure fit – assuming you get the right size.
These are small. I went up one size and could probably go up two.
Slightly tight for walking around, but just right in a riding position.
Few bib shorts are significantly more expensive than this.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well – they stay very comfortable on long rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Strong construction, good looks and a very comfortable pad.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Straps were bordering on oversprung even though I sized up.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
These are right up there, within £20-£40 of the most expensive shorts we've reviewed recently. The majority are considerably cheaper.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd consider letting you buy them for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? A rich one, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are very good at doing what they're supposed to do, and the impressive construction feels like it'll last really well. The only real downside is the price – they're great shorts, but not twice as good as similar models at half the price. They also size up pretty small; I would not have been happy in my chart-recommended size.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,